Are you familiar with each paint chip flaking off the ceiling of your apartment, but not familiar with all the streets in your neighborhood? Do you catch yourself looking at the subway map longingly, wondering what you would see if you spontaneously decided to get off the train a few stops early instead of going straight home? If this sounds like you or you’re just a New Yorker who wants to explore NYC more this year, here are some new year’s resolutions ideas that will help you do that.
Systematically walk down every street of your neighborhood.
Just because you live in an area, you shouldn’t assume you know everything about it. Take a note from William Helmreich (RIP 😔) or Matt Green and intentionally go down every street within your neighborhood’s boundaries. You’ll be surprised at how many things in the area you haven’t noticed before.
Do something that you’ve wanted to do but haven’t because it’s “too touristy.”
Maybe my sense of humor is stilted, but I don’t find it amusing to see those memes where New Yorkers take pride in never having experienced the attractions that New York City is known for. In 2023 lets rid ourselves of the idea that being a real New Yorker makes you too cool to visit the Empire State Building or attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. What’s not cool is letting the tourists have all the fun.
Visit a neighborhood you’ve never been to in each borough.
Depending on who you ask, NYC has 250 neighborhoods. And unless you’re the aforementioned William Helmreich or Matt Green (They’re both walking legends! Check them out), you probably haven’t spent time in all of them yet. And no, passing through does not count.
See what’s at the end of each subway line.
Note that I didn’t say to ride the entirety of each subway line, that’s a commitment that even I can’t ask myself to make. (I’m shuddering at the thought of the amount of time spent in the subway system it would require to achieve this feat.) But there’s something interesting about seeing the terminus of a subway line. Amy Plitt and Kyle Knoke capture the uniqueness of this in their book “Subway Adventure Guide: New York City: To the End of the Line”, which also serves as guide on what you can do at the end of each subway line.
Finally try all of those restaurants in your neighborhood that you’ve been meaning to go to.
This resolution isn’t very imaginative, but how many times have you walked past that Thai place in your neighborhood and told yourself that you would try it someday? Let’s make someday one of the days of this year.
Use the NYPL/BPL/QPL’s Culture Pass to visit museums you’ve never been to before.
If you’re a New Yorker, you probably heard this announcement in 2018 and promptly forgot about it, but here’s your reminder that if you have a library card, you can use it to visit over 60 museums in the city for free! The libraries are part of a program called Culture Pass that is essentially your free ticket to cultural institutions all over NYC. To take advantage of this, you simply go to culturepass.nyc, select the museum you want to visit, and follow any additional instructions to get your tickets. And don’t tell the library I’m telling you this, but having library cards for to all three NYC public library systems means 3X the free tickets.
Become a regular somewhere.
Going to one place over and over may sound like the opposite of exploring, but I’d argue that doing this is an essential part of truly getting to know a place. You don’t learn all of a person’s quirks and eccentricities after going out with them once, so why wouldn’t the same thing apply to getting acquainted with places in the city? So start frequenting a cafe or a museum, or even a public library branch, if you’re not into shelling out money every time you go outside.
Are you a New Yorker who wants to explore the city more? What’s your resolution to do that this year? I’d love to hear it in the comment section.
But before you go, if you liked this article on new year’s resolutions for New Yorkers and you like what I do here at Shiloh in the City and want to continue getting to know New York’s history, culture, and things to do with me, sign up for my email list and follow me on social media. Thanks for reading!